Dustin Griffin will never forget the week he spent in Colorado Springs with his uncle, Kevin. He took Dustin to the Fort Carson military base and the then-10-year-old sat in the military tank his uncle used to drive.
“He was definitely 100 percent Army,” Dustin Griffin said. “He was all about the Army. That’s why he got up so high I guess is because he just, he lived it.”
Dustin Griffin, as did family and fellow soldiers, remembered 45-year-old Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffin as a man who was dedicated to his family and military career. Kevin’s brother, Shawn Griffin, said the father of two was an active and social person from child to adulthood.
“He loved the Army, but on top of that, he loved his family,” he said.
Kevin Griffin died Wednesday in Afghanistan from wounds received during a suicide bomb attack. The decorated 24-year Army veteran was the senior enlisted adviser to the commander of the “Mountain Warriors” 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, headquartered in Fort Carson, Colo.
The attack also claimed the lives of Maj. Thomas E. Kennedy, 35, of West Point, N.Y.; Air Force Maj. Walter D. Gray, 38, of Conyers, Ga.; and Ragaei Abdelfattah, a representative of the United States Agency for International Development.
Maj. Christopher Thomas, public affairs officer for the 4th Brigade in Afghanistan, said the senior leadership was headed to a security meeting with Afghan officials in Asadabad, the provincial capital of Kunar Province, when suicide bombers attacked the group and detonated their vests. Thomas did not have not have specifics about the wounded Friday. He said Col. James J. Mingus was present during the attack but not injured.
“CSM Griffin was a phenomenal Command Sergeant Major whose loss will be felt for quite some time,” Thomas wrote in an email. “We were fortunate to have him for the time we were given, and his family and loved ones are in our thoughts and prayers.”
During his Army career, Griffin served three tours in Iraq and had been deployed to Kuwait and the Balkans. He was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.
Thomas said the brigade began a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan in February.
In a statement Friday, Gov. Matt Mead said, “Command Sergeant Major Griffin is a much decorated soldier who served our state and our country for many years. We owe him and his family a deep debt of gratitude for highest service given and sacrifice made. The thoughts and prayers of my wife Carol and I are with his family. We mourn his loss.”
Growing up in Riverton, Griffin competed on the high school wrestling team and won a state championship before attending Northwest Community College in Powell. He transferred to the University of Wyoming after two years, joined the military and continued to wrestle for the Army.
“As a young kid, Kevin was very competitive, fun-loving, real adventurous-type kid,” Shawn Griffin said.
Kevin Griffin married while at the University of Wyoming, and the couple recently celebrated their 25th anniversary.
After being relocated to Washington state for a number of years, Griffin’s family moved back to Colorado Springs earlier this year while he was overseas.
Kevin Griffin’s father, multiple uncles, son and nephew are currently serving or have previously served in the military. Kevin’s ambitions surpassed that of simple service, though. He loved Army life enough to make a career out of it.
“He truly believed in what he was doing, and that’s the one solace that we kind of get out of this,” Shawn Griffin said. “He was where he wanted to be.”